I’m seeking advice, input, humiliation even; anything that will help me understand something or in this case someone, whose type I’ve maybe only seen represented in dramatic literature.
No, not a lamenter a la Jane Austen’s Mrs Bennet, ‘My poor nerves!” or a “I am an old man" lament of Charles Dickens.
A lamentationalist. Someone skilled, or at least prolific at expressing lamentations at things that have little to no effect on them personally, almost for show. At least, sometimes. I think it might be for show. Other times I think their concern comes from a feeling of genuine empathy but might get lost in the theatrics of needing to fret out loud over someone else’s crosses.
Me: Guess what? We finally have dental insurance! I’m taking the kids this week!
Lamenationalist: (bursts into tears) I’m sorry! I am so happy for you. You have no idea how stressful your situation has been for me these last few years.
Um. Gee, I guess, even more stressful than it’s been for me, the one with the aching molars. Here’s another example:
Me: Well moving was hard. There were sooo many things to pack and so many little steps involved, but we’re taking it slow.
Lamenatationalist: (cue concerned deep voice) You. Simply. Cannot underestimate the amount of pressure and grief that you’ve been under. Right now the whole world has been completely turned upside down and you haven’t been able to do or think about anything else.
Yes, ahem. I suppose, there’s some of that too. Wait, who is suffering more here?
Is it just me or is their reaction over the top? Or could it be that person just has a default dire mode switched on all of the time?
In any case I’m beginning to feel guilty when my life gets tough because of how it affects them. That and what’s wrong with me? Why aren’t I constantly fainting under the perpetual pressure of my earth-shattering grief?
Me: Well, the husband stops working graveyard this week. Now on to a month of swing shifts.
Lamenationalist: Oh thank God for that. This has all been just so hard. Just so hard.
Wait, do they mean hard on them or on me the person actually affected by my husband schedule? I’m so confused.
What do you think? Does your family have one of these?
My lamentationalist is an immediate family member. While I realize that we all try to share in each other’s pain, I can’t tell if that what this person is doing. Maybe they are. I really don’t know.
This relative also always needs smelling salts every time one of my kids bumps their heads or cries for more than five seconds.
Is it an ethnic thing (we’re Hispanic)? Am I being too hard on this person? Should I just chortle behind their backs and go to confession for judging them later?
Need advice, please help!